Montreal Chamber Music Festival (Festival de Musique de Chambre de Montreal)

Photos: family in the audience enjoying the brass quintet called “Frolic”; Preservation Hall Jazz Band; and Igudesman & Joo.
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Summary Info Festival StoryFestival EventsOther SourcesPractical Info

Country and Region CanadaQuebec
Type of Festival Music
Location of Festival Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Festival Contact Information

Festival de Musique de Chambre de Montreal
5325 avenue Crowley, No. 100
Montreal, Quebec
H4A 2C6 Canada
Phone: 1 (514) 489-7444
Fax: 1 (514) 489-3410

Festival Description

On Friday, September 22nd 1995, the first concert of the Montreal Chamber Music Festival was given in the famous Chalet on top of Mount-Royal in the heart of Montreal. The planning for this dream, which had now become a reality, had begun a few years before and for many, the expectations were high! On May 29th 1995, then Mayor of Montreal, Pierre Bourque wrote “…I am happy to confirm the interest of the City of Montreal for the first international chamber music festival to be held in the beautiful surroundings of the Chalet on Mount-Royal. You can count on my support and the support of the Executive Committee and all of the city’s services to ensure your success”. This letter was sent to Denis Brott who was the founder of the Festival. It is he who started with an idea that has since become the premier chamber music Festival in Montreal and one of the top festivals in the country.

Since then, the Festival has changed locations and has welcomed some of the finest artists in the world. The list reads like a who’s who of great names including Jon Vickers, the Emerson, Tokyo, Guarneri and St. Lawrence String Quartets, Margie Gillis, Oliver Jones, Kurt Elling, James Ehnes, the Swingle Singers and the Canadian Brass. The Festival has opened the doors to talented young musicians who are still unknown to the public, something nobody had done before. Among these is the 17-year-old Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki, who is now known worldwide; Jonathan Crow who is now concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra; and the Afiara String Quartet, winner of the prestigious Banff International String Quartet competition. In 1995, the Festival presented 5 concerts and in 2012 offered 18 concerts, 5 free events in unconventional locations and 8 pre-concert talks for a total of 31 events. The Festival continues to offer a world-class jazz series as well as a classical series that features the finest international talent alongside young future stars.

Favoring innovation, the Festival insists on making chamber music accessible to the broader public while emphasizing the cultural richness and superb heritage of Montreal. The Festival’s voice is heard through radio broadcast across North America on National Public Radio (NPR) and American Public Media (APM) and across the world through internet broadcast on The Festival continues in its dedication to promoting the extraordinary talent cultivated in its city, province and country including the finest emerging artists alongside world-renowned seasoned professionals in its programming.

Festival Dates May 9 - June 1, 2013
Festival Links

Festival Story:

Founded in 1995 by the distinguished Canadian cellist Denis Brott, the Montreal Chamber Music Festival has gained international recognition for its innovative programming and dedication to chamber music in all its diversity. In 2011 the Festival, which presented 61 artists, many of international renown, saw a 30% increase in audience attendance. In 2012 the Festival was awarded the prestigious Grand Prix du tourisme québecois for the second time in its history, as well as the Prix Coup d’Eclat and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award bestowed upon Denis Brott, Founder and Artistic Director, and Michael Boer. President. All Montreal Chamber Music Festival concerts are recorded for WGBH Boston for broadcast over American Public Media (APM) reaching an audience of six million listeners.


Festival Events:

Programming highlights 2013:
  • May 9th
    • The 2013 Festival kicks off with an exchange concert with the venerable Boston Chamber Music Society on May 9th, performing works by Menotti, Shostakovich, and Schubert.
  • May 14 and 16
    • Another featured guest at the Festival is the Fine Arts Quartet, which will appear in recital with the acclaimed Brazilian pianist Cristina Ortiz, playing works by the Romantic composer Camille Saint-Saëns. The concerts will take place on May 14th and 16th, and will coincide with the release of a double album on Naxos of three of Saint-Saëns’ magnificent chamber works, a collaborative project by the Fine Arts Quartet and Ms. Ortiz. The Festival will also present pre-concert lectures by one of the world’s leading Saint-Saëns specialists, Sabina Ratner.
  • May 18
    • The Grammy-award winning a capella group, Swingle Singers, will celebrate their 50th Anniversary by performing a diverse repertoire of vocal arrangements ranging from Bach to Chick Corea.
  • May 23
    • The Swingle Singer will also introduce Bach Week, a highlight of which will be the complete Brandenburg concerti, played on May 23rd by an ensemble comprised of the 2012 winners of the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank Competition. The winners will also be joined by distinguished soloists, including the great American violinist Rachel Barton Pine, renowned early music specialist and violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch and the Montreal Symphony principal oboist Theodore Baskin.
  • May 28
    • The renowned French pianist and expert in French repertoire, Jean-Philippe Collard will grace the festival on May 28th with the prize-winning Cecilia Quartet and acclaimed pianist David Jalbert in a performance featuring works by Ravel and Franck.
  • May 29
    • Giora Schmidt, Marcus Thompson and the Festival’s Artistic Director Denis Brott will join Mr. Collard in a program celebrating French tradition and culture with selections by Debussy, Ravel and Fauré. Closely following on May 30th is the much anticipated recital by the famed Emerson String Quartet. The concert, entitled Passing the Torch, will be the group’s first full performance with their new cellist, Paul Watkins, the first change in members the quartet has made since 1979. The program will feature works by Haydn, Bartók and Beethoven.
  • June 1
    • The Festival closes on June 1st with a four-hour marathon concert aptly named Everybody Loves Tchaikovsky!, showcasing a program that accentuates the lush romanticism that characterized his style.
  • TD Jazz Series
    • Fans of the Festival’s ever-popular will not be disappointed by the varied and vibrant jazz lineup this year: Brandi Disterheft and her quartet, the Oliver Jones Trio, Eldar Djangirov, Brazilian guitarist Chico Pinheiro, and the Assad Brothers with Paquito D’Rivera.


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Practical Info:

  • In 2012 the Festival was awarded the prestigious Grand Prix du tourisme québecois for the second time in its history, as well as the Prix Coup d’Eclat. In addition, Founder Denis Brott was bestowed with the 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award.


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